FAIRBANKS — If the barristers for Schaeffer Cox and Coleman Barney manage to convince a federal judge they should not be tried in the city to the south because “Anchorage is an environment alien to the accused,” then we will know there is one judge in America who will believe anything.

The bid to move the trials from Anchorage to Fairbanks might have been stronger without playing the Aliens in Anchorage card, but at least they tried.

And let’s give credit where credit is due.

In the history of jurisprudence, I don’t know that the Alaska Ear has ever been cited in federal court as evidence. Earwigs across Alaska reacted as if the D’Ear is ready for a slot on the Supreme Court.

“A columnist with the Anchorage Daily News,” the attorneys inform the court about one habit of the Divine Appendage, “instead of referring to ‘Fairbanks’ refers to the ‘City on the Edge of Nowhere.’”

“Other Alaskans frequently refer to Anchorage as ‘Los Anchorage’ and say that the best thing about Anchorage is that it is ‘only one hour away from Alaska.’ Some see Anchorage as a suburb of Seattle.”

And to think they didn’t even have to quote John McPhee, who wrote 35 years ago that Anchorage “is that part of any city where the city has burst its seams and extruded Colonel Sanders.”

To better show that Anchorage is a different world, the attorneys should have cited that noted legal scholar Mike Doogan, a Fairbanksan-in-exile who said Fairbanks is a place where “good citizenship is taking the time to fire a warning shot.”

One problem with this approach is that, with the big numbers and all, there are more people in Anchorage who say “Los Anchorage” than there are in Fairbanks. Even the D’Ear herself has used the term to apply to the big city by the water.

In 1987, when reporter Sheila Toomey visited Fairbanks to cover the Neil Mackay trial, which had been moved here because of pretrial publicity, she developed a lack of appreciation for Fairbanks that has never dimmed. Maybe it had something to do with having to undergo surgery here. Maybe it was the weather.

“This may well be a city on the edge of nowhere,” is how she began one of her stories on a perfect January day. She has used the term dozens of times over the years in the Ear column. Other Daily News reporters followed her lead.

I’ve grown to like it. It’s better than “Big Wild Life.”

At least this is how I choose to remember it while the City on the Edge of Nowhere awaits the verdict from Los Anchorage.


MEALS FOR NEEDY: The Stone Soup Cafe, located in the old Eagles Hall at 200 First Ave., served 1,271 breakfasts in August and distributed about 1,000 sack lunches to those in need.

The volunteer-run organization, based in the old Eagle Lodge at 200 First Ave., hopes to have hot lunches available this winter, it says.

In August, the volunteers served 1,271 hot breakfasts and distributed about 1,000 sack lunches. Most of the food is donated by individuals and the Fairbanks Community Food Bank. The Cafe is open Monday through Friday,with volunteers preparing from 6:30 to 8:30 a.m. and serving and cleaning up to 10:30 a.m.

Those wishing to donate food can stop by the cafe during those hours or call Phil at 750-6187 to arrange pick up. Those wishing to volunteer or inquire about volunteering may call Ritchie Musick at 479-5336. Or email: breadlinestone


TUNE IN: Michelle Littell, a local leader of Weight Watchers, is scheduled to be a guest on the “Dr. Oz” show today. The show is on at 4 p.m. on KTVF.

Dermot Cole can be reached at cole@newsminer.com

or 459-7530.

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